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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 2, 2016 (PM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: The way forward for Diet discussions on the approval and ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement is looking increasingly unclear, with four opposition parties, including the Democratic Party, having agreed to call for the resignation of Minister Yamamoto, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, following his recent comments. Given that the Government is seeking to achieve the approval of the TPP as rapidly as possible, how will you seek to achieve a breakthrough in the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I received a telephone call from Minister Yamamoto yesterday evening, in which he apologized. I cautioned him severely, urging that he take due care with his comments and respond to Diet discussions with a sense of urgency. Minister Yamamoto himself is deeply remorseful about his thoughtless comments and I do not believe that this matter is one that requires his resignation. The way in which affairs are managed in the Diet is for the Diet itself to decide and I would like to refrain from making any comment with regard to this matter. In addition, the TPP Agreement is extremely important for Japan’s growth strategy and the Government considers it to be necessary for related bills to be approved as soon as possible in order to swiftly ensure that the positive effects of the TPP can be realized. The Government will continue to provide detailed explanations in the Diet with a sense of urgency, with a view to expediting deliberations.


REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. This evening Prime Minister Abe will be holding a summit meeting with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar. Myanmar is a country that is attracting a great deal of business attention, so what outcomes is the Government expecting from the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The meeting is due to be held shortly, so I would like you to wait a little longer before outcomes and results are discussed. In any event, the Government of Japan seeks to take the opportunity of the State Counsellor’s visit to further strengthen our longstanding friendly bilateral relations. The Government will confirm its policy that Japan’s public and private sectors will both cooperate on all fronts with measures being implemented by the new administration in Myanmar.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is a symbol of democratization in Myanmar, so what kind of message is the Government seeking to send out to the international community about further expanding the universal value of democracy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in March this year the Government of Japan welcomed the start of a democratic administration in Myanmar for the first time in half a century, elected with the support of a majority of the people of Myanmar, and sincerely welcomed the fact that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the democratization movement in the country, would be leading the new administration. I believe that in the meeting between Prime Minister Abe and the State Counsellor the two leaders will be engaging in a frank exchange of opinions as partners who share the basic values of democracy, respect for basic human rights and the rule of law.

REPORTER: I have a question about the Paris Agreement on climate change. The agreement is scheduled to enter into force on November 4 as a new international framework for tackling climate change. Can I ask for the thoughts of the Government on the entry into force of the agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government places great importance on the Paris Agreement, which was the first-ever framework of its kind to be adopted in which all countries will participate. Although the schedule for Diet deliberations is a matter for the Diet itself to determine, the Government will continue to work to ensure that the agreement can be approved as soon as possible.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) is scheduled to be held from November 7 in Morocco, at which a meeting will be held among nations that have already ratified the Paris Agreement to discuss the formulation of rules. As Japan’s ratification of the agreement has been delayed it is expected to participate in this meeting as an observer rather than as an official member. There are some people who suggest that this observer status may be to Japan’s disadvantage, so what is the Government view on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it is expected that negotiations relating to the implementation of the Paris Agreement will be advanced with the participation of all signatory nations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including Japan, and also with the participation of nations who have yet to ratify the Paris Agreement after it enters into force. Accordingly, the Government does not foresee any significant impact on Japan’s negotiating stance by not participating officially in the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1). The Government will continue to make efforts to ensure that Japan becomes a party to the agreement so that we can participate persuasively in negotiations as soon as possible.

REPORTER: I have a question about the Constitution. Tomorrow will mark the 70th anniversary of the promulgation of the current Constitution. Currently there are proactive moves being seen in the Diet towards revision of the Constitution, and as the ruling parties have the required two-thirds majority in both houses of the Diet to propose a bill, there is a real sense that constitutional revision could be realized. Could I ask for your views concerning the current environment with regard to the Constitution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Since its inception, one of the consistent party principles of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been to seek to revise the Constitution. In 2012 under President Tanigaki of the LDP, a draft bill for revising the Constitution was drawn up, which states that the party seeks to revise the Constitution with the consent of the people of Japan. However, as you know, revising the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority approval for revision by both houses of the Diet, which therefore requires the support of not just the ruling parties but other parties and factions, and above all the understanding of the people of Japan. In a variety of senses, therefore, this naturally requires that we engage in a national discussion on this issue and that we work to deepen understanding. In any event, it is of the utmost importance that thorough discussions in a calm environment should first be advanced by the Commissions on the Constitution in the Diet, in which all persons, regardless of party affiliation, should present their concepts and engage in serious discussion, leading to a wider national discussion.


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